Episode 3 Under the Cherry Blossom Tree…
“This is Kinashi from the crime scene!! Continuing from last night, the fourth corpse was buried under a cherry blossom tree on a mountain where the Kameyama Lake can be overlooked here in Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture!!”
Perhaps because the crime scene was halfway up the mountain, sweat appeared on the face of the reporter who called himself Kinashi.
The camera of the TV station’s focus panned to the cherry blossom trees.
In the video, there was yellow tape with “Keep out” on them and more than ten police officers. Then there was a magnificent cherry blossom tree standing secretly at the innermost part.
“This series of cases shares the similarity of having items buried with the corpses. Is it correct for this one as well?”
Facing the question from the main caster in the studio, the reporter on the crime scene answered immediately,
“Yes, the corpse has just been accommodated and some items were dug up at the same time. Also, regarding the identity of the corpse, the police will explain it later with the information regarding the third corpse.”
“I see. Can I ask another question? At the crime scene, are there any other things or pieces of information that might be related to the identity of the corpse?”
When the camera returned to the reporter, he was flipping through the documents in his hands.
“Let me see. Our office investigated this case by ourselves. When we searched for information on missing young adults near the crime scene, we found that there was a male who has been missing since approximated one year and three months ago in Kisarazu.”
“They might be related. I see. Thank you very much. If there is more information regarding this case in the future, please report it to us.”
When the camera returned to the studio, the special programs with telops 1 invited the famous critics whose actions were usually unknown to discuss about the case that progressed so suddenly for the first time after two weeks.
“The Golden Week 2 has just started, and corpses were found two days in a row… ”
Yui put the macaron called Berry Berry into her mouth.
“I thought nothing was going to happen because it had been peaceful for two weeks since Jedi was found, but two corpses were found suddenly. What is the criminal thinking about? ”
While saying this, Akira put an orange and a matcha macaron into his mouth at the same time.
“I don’t know if the offender wants to attract attention since he chose to take actions during the Golden Week. Is there anything going on with Twitter?”
“Ho, ho! I found one!! #*&!! So look at this*@%^@##!!”
Akira’s cheeks inflated and as if he was a squirrel. He wanted to say something desperately, but the large amount of macarons in his mouth obstructed him from doing so.
“Okay, I see. You want some drinks immediately, right? I happened to some boiling water that is super hot right now. Open your mouth! I’ll pour all of it into your mouth!!”
Right beside Akira, who had opened his eyes widely, Kujou was standing with a pot that played the sound of boiling water in his hand and an evil smile on his face.
“Even Akira will die from that. Stop.”
“Yes. Then I’ll bring some fresh raspberries.”
While saying that, Kujou headed to the kitchen.
Akira, who was saved by Yui’s one sentence, swallowed the macarons inside his mouth very hard and took his phone out of his pocket.
“Because Kujou told me to do so, I had been monitoring the usernames on Twitter for the past two weeks, but found nothing mentionable. But… Look!!”
“Right! This is the user that had posted the Tweet about the third corpse found yesterday.”
“Umm. Similar to the previous ones, it only has the address and the sentence,‘There is a corpse buried under this cherry blossom tree.’”
“And… This is…”
Akira changed the screen on his phone.
“This is what I found today, the user name that indicated the fourth place. Called @GIA_1150.”
There was only one Tweet and it contained the same information as the previous ones.
“So, Akira, write out all the usernames we have found so far.”
Kujou commanded after he put the teacups that contained light blue raspberries tea that was at its peak time to drink in front of Yui and Akira.
“Let me see… Wait a second… I remember that the first one is @ROK_1150, the second one is @ADO_1150. And the third one is @SAGE_1150, the fourth one is @GIA_1150, right!!”
On the piece of paper placed on the table, mysterious letters and numbers were lined up.
“Mr. Gen has said this as well, that the number 1150 appears in every single username.”
“It doesn’t seem like a ZIP code or a telephone number… What is it?”
Yui and Akira put their elbows onto the table and used their right hands to support their chins as if they were contemplating.
“Not only the numbers, the letters before the underscores also perplex me. They seem like the initials or abbreviations of something. Because we are severely lacking clues, I don’t know.”
“There are too many possibilities, so you don’t know which one is the definitive one?”
“Yes. Just as you have said, Miss Yui.”
Kujou sipped the sweet-sour raspberry tea and continued looking at the piece of paper with the four usernames silently.
“For now, let’s just wait for information from Mr. Gen. Akira. Continue monitoring Twitter. There might be a Tweet indicating the address of where the fifth corpse is buried.”
“Okay! I’ll do it!!”
Akira became pleasant after accepting Yui’s trust. He started staring at the screen of his phone immediately.
Several hours after that.
When the night fell, the interview with the police was held.
Since it was only several hours after the case was revealed, there wasn’t much detailed information. Only basic information, such as the identities of the corpse, was announced.
The third corpse, found yesterday, was Loveho Aida, female. The estimated age for when she was murder was eighteen. She was discovered under a cherry blossom tree at the foot of Mount Tsukuba in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. Approximately one-third of the corpse was skeletonized. After the DNA test, it was confirmed that the items buried with the corpse belonged to her. Furthermore, her family members put out a notice for missing person seven months ago and it was accepted by their local police office.
And the fourth corpse, found today, was Skull Yamaguchi, male. The estimated age for when he was murdered was eighteen. Three-fourths of his corpse found under a cherry blossom tree near Kameyama Lake, Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture was skeletonized. His family members put out a notice for missing person one year and three months ago. Similar to Loveho, it was confirmed that the items buried with him belonged to him after the DNA test.
After the announcement from the police, Yui and Kujou knitted their brows, trying to grasp the whole story of this case with information including the information they had just obtained.
At that moment, Akira, who had devoted his mind the most diligently to the TV, broke the silence in the detective agency.
“The third corpse is Loveho. The fourth one is Skull… Hey, Kujou… Is this case a murder of people with shiny names?”
“But, think of this~ Don’t the names of the fourth people who were murdered stick out too much!? Isn’t this a murder evolving from bullying?”
“Well, if their names were too shiny, people around them might look at them in a strange way. Actually, I have heard of cases that evolved from bullying because of that… However, this case is probably different. Saitama Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture. Not only are the locations of the crime scenes different, the time the victims were murdered are also different. If everything is like Akira had just said, that it evolved from bullying, it should have a substantial number of people involved. During these two years, it is impossible that none of those offenders had ever divulged this case.”
Realizing that Akira, who tilted his head, did not understand anything from his expression, Kujou explained it in detail.
“Basically, what Miss Yui wanted to say was that this is not a murder case evolved from bullying that happened at multiple locations simultaneously.”
“U~mm, is that right… Umm? Then, is it by chance that these four people were killed? According to the news, it seems like these people don’t share even one similarity.”
“I was thinking about that this morning, but from the interview, I found only one similarity of these four people.”
“Eh!? There is one!?”
Having not realizing it, Akira opened his eyes widely with astonishment.
“Weren’t all four people murdered when they were eighteen?”
“Eh~~~ Wasn’t that by chance?”
“Explode, you idiot.”
“… You… You called me an idiot…”
Kujou might have heard Akira’s murmuring, or he might have not, but he continued calmly.
“Listen. According to the common criminal psychology, the action of burying a corpse indicates that the offender doesn’t want the corpse to be found. Since he doesn’t want the corpse to be found, he would try to destroy all the evidence regarding the corpse.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Akira nodded slightly.
“However, in this case, his actions after burying the corpses were the exact opposite. He purposely announced the locations of the corpses, and in the end, he left evidence such as licenses that could tell the identities of the victims with the corpses.”
“So he did that on purpose?”
“If this is a murder due to impulse, it is impossible for him to act like this. I think Kujou’s speculation is correct.”
Crossing her arms, Yui supported Kujou.
“Then think about it, is there any meaning behind the fact that all people were murdered when they were eighteen?”
Finally understanding what the two were saying, Akira stated his opinion.
“From the state of the skeletonization of the corpses and the time of the notices for disappearing people… Jedi Aoki was murdered the first. Then Skull Yamaguchi. The third was Loveho Aida. The last was Arieru. If they were still alive, their ages would be twenty, nineteen, eighteen, and eighteen respectively.”
“What about it?”
Akira asked hysterically because he didn’t understand what Kujou had said.
Kujou’s lowered the tone of his voice.
“Listen Akira. The actual ages of the victims are different. But they were all killed when they were eighteen. This is a key for searching the offender. ”
Attracted by Kujou’s voice, Akira became nervous.
“Two years ago, when the offender murdered Jedi Aoki, who was at the age of eighteen, the murderer had buried him. Because at that time, Arieru Shimizu, the last target, was only sixteen year old. In order to kill all victims when they were eighteen, the murderer had to continue burying the corpses.”
“…What the heck… So, the offender waited two years for that murdering opportunity!?”
“That’s how strong the hatred… You can feel from the murderer”
Feeling the hatred, which had continued for two years, from the murderous criminal, Akira shuddered and couldn’t speak.
A moment of silence descended upon the detective agency.
However, Yui, who had not been talking until now, broke the silence.
“So the items buried with the corpses are a message to somebody?”
“Whether it’s a message or a hint… It must have some sort of meaning; however, we don’t know who it’s for. There’s probably another similarity that we don’t know.”
While saying that, Yui closed her eyes.
“Miss Yui, it’s late now. I think we can stop here for today. Also, I will contact Mr. Gen later. If I receive the permission from you, I will go investigate Aida’s and Yamaguchi’s families soon. I might be able to obtain more information.”
After hearing this, Yui nodded as granting permission.
“Akira, you have to keep monitoring Twitter. The offender had done so much until now. There is a possibility that the murderer won’t stop here.”
“Since I don’t have to go to school during Golden Week, I’ll do it for sure!”
Akira showed his enthusiasm because the job was entrusted to him. He continued to talk.
“Ah! So, during this break, can I stay in the agency? I have already told my parents!!”
Akira smiled innocently, without any fear.
“Sure. The doghouse 3 from last time is probably still there”
“Do you want me to add a quilt for you?”
Kujou and Yui laughed emulously.
“Wait! This conversation seemed to happen a long time agooooooo–!!”
Akira’s yelling was engulfed by the darkness of the night.
1. Telops – television opaque projectors, which are bolded words or graphics on the TV screen when the Japanese programs are broadcasted. They sometimes act like subtitles, but are only used to emphasize certain words or phrases, so there are not necessary telops corresponding to every single word.”↩
2. Golden Week – a number of Japanese holidays from April 29 to May 5.↩
3. Doghouse from last time – Kujou had built a wooden doghouse in Volume 1 Episode 2 of The Fräulein of Hakoniwa, the manga version of KKDB.↩